Afghanistan: ISAF PRT's 'strong food' saves malnourished children

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KABUL, Afghanistan - It might be hard to imagine something as sweet as the center of a peanut butter cup saving lives. But thanks to the ingenuity of ISAF's Zabul Provincial Reconstruction Team medical staff, a four-week regiment of its "strong food" has brought hundreds of malnourished Afghan children back to health.

The PRT members introduced "strong food," known locally as Qavi Ghiza, to the Shajoy hospital two months ago. The area's public health administration staff has been using the low-cost and locally produced food supplement to treat more than 400 malnourished children.

"This program has been going very well and giving positive results; people know about it," said Dr. Zamarai Sultan, Public Health Administration nutrition officer. "It is going to be even more successful in the future."

Dr. Sultan has monitored the "strong food" program in Shajoy closely. In a patient sampling of 60 children, 78 percent have shown positive growth. The doctor said he has seen most patients gain 500 grams to 1 kilograms per week while taking the vitamin enriched and calorie heavy supplement.

Dr. Sultan is grateful for the effort the PRT in launching the "strong food" program.

"I am very thankful to this team," he said. "[They have been] a very active team, and they have really wanted to work."

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